Local News for Wednesday 18th October 2017

Ferry passengers’ storm ordeal
Passengers on board the MV Loch Seaforth endured seven hours at sea in wild conditions on Monday, when their crossing from Stornoway was badly affected by the weather. The 2pm crossing was unable to berth at Ullapool as heavy sea conditions made it unsafe to come alongside. Instead, the master took the vessel along the more sheltered side of Loch Broom and into the lee of the Summer Isles. She was eventually able to dock at Ullapool at 9pm and set out for Stornoway again at around 10pm, arriving into Stornoway early yesterday morning. Wild sea conditions once again kept her in port at Stornoway until yesterday evening.

Home Office ‘investigating’ schoolgirl passport
The case of the island schoolgirl who is unable to obtain a passport is to be personally investigated by Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis MP, after her situation was raised at Home Office Questions at Westminster this week. Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil reminded the minister that the Home Office was asking a 14-year-old schoolgirl, born and raised in Scotland, to register as a British citizen. Mr MacNeil said: “This case has touched the hearts of so many people and I was glad to get the opportunity today to question Brandon Lewis MP at Home Office Questions. The Minister responded by saying that he is personally looking into the case and that he would get back to me over the coming days. I welcome the fact that the Minister is personally looking at this and I hope that his intervention leads to the outcome we all want - for this schoolgirl to receive her Status Letter which will allow for her to apply for a passport.”

Mòd magic from Harris
After successes for pupils of the Nicolson Institute at the Royal National Mòd in Fort William on Monday, yesterday was the turn of pupils at Sir E Scott school in Tarbert to shine as the day’s early results started coming through. Ellie-Ceit Johnson won gold in the traditional singing girls 11-12 class and Luke Johnson won gold in the boys’ solo 9-10 years group, while the bronze badge winner in the girls’ open solo singing 16-18 years was Claire MacLeod. In the story-telling, Isla Scott of Sir E Scott school won gold in the 9-10 age group while Mary Sophia Morrison of Laxdale Primary School won the silver badge for fluent speakers aged 11-12, as well as bronze for her solo singing. Coinneach Mackenzie from Back School earned his silver badge for solo singing at age 7. Today sees the first classes for adult singers including first rounds of the Gold Medal, Silver Pendant and Òran Mòr competitions.

Thank you to island women
NHS Western Isles has thanked the women of the Western Isles for ensuring that the mobile breast-screening unit, which was in the islands between February and July, was kept continuously busy. Dr Maggie Watts, NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, said: “The early indications are that more than four in five eligible women accepted their invitation and attended for screening. It seems that women across the Western Isles recognised the importance of getting checked.” If you weren’t able to make it to your appointment, you are still able to be screened at the North of Scotland Screening Centre in Inverness – call 01463 705416 for an appointment. The mobile Breast Screening service comes to the Western Isles every three years to screen women between the ages of 50–70 years. Their next visit is due in 2020.